One of the reasons why so many people find dating daunting is because dates are treated like a gamble where we’ve extended a level of trust and are waiting to see how much return we get back. The more dates we feel that we’ve ‘lost’ too much to, is the twitchier we get about dating, prompting anxiety due to falling for the sunk cost fallacy–believing that we’re supposed to at least ‘get back’ what we put in and as a result, trying to recoup costs that are in actuality, the cost of getting involved and are already ‘done’.
What’s driving much of the anxiety along with a sense of being almost being ‘duped’ if a date or few doesn’t progress, is this underlying belief that if someone isn’t relationship material, that this is something that we believe that we should know almost immediately but also that a date should show their hand immediately.
There can be signs that a person isn’t relationship material or that they don’t share core values (demonstrated through action), or that we quite simply aren’t into them, from pretty soon into the proceedings, but it takes time and experience regardless of any impressions, stated intentions, or feelings felt, to know whether someone truly is loving relationship material or the person for us.
We might get a sense of it, but people and relationships unfold and so rather than making a snap judgement and rigidly sticking to it regardless of what happens next, we have to be open to getting to know and understand people, with the caveat being that some won’t even make it past a date or few, regardless of how good a time we think we’ve had with them.
It won’t be one thing that makes someone ‘it’; it will be a series of things. Even if we see what we think is an indicator of potential early on, as the relationship unfolds, we won’t have to carry on as if it was a UFO sighting that we’re now trying to get them to verify by attempting to make them demonstrate the behaviour or intentions that we haven’t seen again.
If our impression was on point, it will be converted into a fact due to it being consistently demonstrated over time.
Believing that we ‘should’ know immediately is a trap because ultimately, we’re living by a [faux] rule that has no basis.
It’s unrealistic to expect us to have world class detective skills, able to tell at a glance or certainly within the time it takes to have a drink and maybe a meal, whether somebody is Mr or Miss Right. It’s not a skill that we need to develop because there is no getting around the fact that we need to be vulnerable and show up if we want to get to know others and to be known.
We’re only putting the pressure on us to play Columbo because we’re on some level scared of getting things wrong and intimacy.